Fertility Treatment Can Stress Body and Mind
Fertility treatments are stressful – for the body and the mind. Processes such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) are invasive and costly, and potential parents know that there’s no guarantee of success.
Even before they start treatment, many patients agonize over their decision, wondering if they could get pregnant without intervention if they just waited a bit longer. Possible side effects and pain are also frequent concerns.
Guilt for being unable to conceive and resentment of women who get pregnant naturally are additional stressors. Women with fertility issues may deal with those feelings by avoiding other people – which causes even higher levels of stress.
A byproduct of infertility: Heightened anxiety
Compared with the general population, men and women managing infertility have higher levels of anxiety. For example, one study found 87% of women seeking fertility care had anxiety and 41% suffered from depression.
Struggling with fertility can be a trying experience, and patients and their partners can experience symptoms of depression or other mental health conditions. One study found that women with infertility report feeling as anxious or depressed as those diagnosed with cancer, hypertension or recovering from a heart attack.
In addition, patients may compound their stress by worrying that their infertility is caused by stress. Fortunately, researchers haven’t seen a correlation.
Conceiving a well-rounded fertility benefit
Most fertility benefits focus on the physical – helping a woman to get pregnant and deliver a healthy baby. By including or adding a mental health component, plans can care for the whole patient.
Identifying reliable sources of information and access to quality care are a key to reducing stress during fertility treatment. Appointments can be overwhelming, especially in the beginning when patients are learning about their reproductive system and various fertility treatments.
And, of course, money can be an issue. For example, the medical costs of one IVF cycle can range from $10,000 to $25,000. Having insurance coverage for infertility treatment helps alleviate this stress.
For maximum support, patients need access to a holistic treatment plan that considers mental and physical health, and a well-planned benefit takes both into account. FamilyPathSM is Evernorth’s integrated fertility solution designed to give hopeful parents a safer and more affordable journey to parenthood while helping health plans and employers reduce avoidable costs and attract top talent. Evernorth inMyndSM behavioral health solution offers a thoughtful and connected approach that helps patients and payers better recognize, treat and support mental and behavioral health conditions.